Unashamedly Odious


Once hailed as ‘one of Hampshire’s loveliest gardens’ we last visited Apple Court Garden, under its previous ownership in the spring of 2014. Elizabeth had also viewed it before then. Today it was open under the NGS (National Gardens Scheme) which raises money for charity. The three of us went along to be profoundly disappointed. Certainly we have endured a very dry summer, but that was no reason for the general air of decay and lack of care, especially as the entrance fee and prices of rather sad plants for sale were high.

My camera worked hard to find things of beauty to photograph.

Jackie and Elizabeth studying plants for sale

Jackie and Elizabeth studied the plants for sale, on the way to the entrance hut.


Such colour as there was on this stretch – or anywhere else for that matter, appeared in  scattered spots, like this spiderwort tradescantia,


or this attractive two-tone crocosmia.


Elizabeth having paid our £5 a head entrance fee we scoured the beds for interest. Here Jackie contemplates the parched earth.


The distant agapanthuses looked well enough;


This bright phormium sent up reddish feathered foliage;

Turk's Head lily

a decorative Turk’s Head lily swayed to

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed is attractive to bees. We noticed none in the garden.

A modicum of interest was engendered by the emergence of other visitors in the gaps between the beech hedges.

Water lily

At least, we imagined, the water lilies

and the carp in the Japanese garden would sparkle. Sadly the once clear water was too murky for the lens to penetrate to any depth; spiders’ webs festooned the wooden screen;

the surrounding path had become overgrown and the gravel so sparse as to offer raised circular stones as booby traps.

Comparisons are odious – so the old saying goes. Well, in our view this is no longer a lovely garden. A glance at the last two images in the post highlighted in the first paragraph above will show the difference in the carp’s pool. Our own garden, containing far more colour per square metre, is about a quarter of a mile from Apple Court. I am unashamed in making these two comparisons.

This evening Jackie produced, for the three of us, succulent roast lamb; perfectly crisp roast potatoes; Yorkshire pudding; runner beans from the garden with crunchy carrots and soft mange touts; and onion gravy so thick as to require a spoon for serving. Jackie having drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand, abstained from alcohol, while Elizabeth and I drank Castillero del Diablo reserva Merlot 2017.


  1. What a dreadful shame. But the real shame is on them for not admitting to themselves that the garden is no longer worthy of charging for the dubious pleasure or privilege of walking around it. And those plants for sale? Disgraceful. It casts a dark shadow over the National Gardens Scheme which is a great pity. By stark contrast the music is playing in the background and has transported me to a much more colourful and agreeable place …. a celebration indeed 🙂

    1. Very many thanks, Osyth. There was a woman wandering about in a green T-shirt bearing an NGS logo. We wondered what was her role and what she would make of it.

  2. That’s sad, Derrick. Is it lack of funding, leadership, or something else that has caused the decline?
    Your beautiful garden shows the result of steady care.

  3. The difference in water quality is stark. Poor fish. Poor plants. I imagine Jackie is in a frenzy today, lavishing love on her garden. The beautiful music took me back to when I used to do bellyrobics, aerobics based on belly dance moves. It’s not on offer where we live now. Pity, it was a lot of fun.

    1. Thanks very much, Gwen. I could just see you throwing yourself into that. For a professional garden selling plants that are available in much better condition and more gently priced in so many local garden centre, they just don’t seem to have put the work in

  4. It’s sad when you go back to a place and are disappointed. Maybe they will do better soon, but you have your garden at home, which is much better tended, and frankly, closer to hand for enjoyment. Your meal, as usual, sounds marvelous.

  5. Well, your garden is brilliantly laid out and a surfeit of beauties, and how fortunate for us. And sad for the other garden folks to fall so shot. And my feet had to do a bit of dancing as belly slowly followed along…. thanks!

  6. Abandoned Garden – Cassidy Whitsett

    Don’t plant a flower in my heart
    If you’re not going to stay to water it

    Good morning Derrick everything needs love and care !!!

  7. Do you think the garden should have been opened for public when it was in full bloom this year? Did they have visitor’s dairy?

    1. Don’t know about a visitor’s diary. Full bloom everywhere would not be essential. The thing is that this garden is open all through the year, two or three days a week especially for the plant sales – so yesterday would have been the same as when not doing it for NGS. Thanks very much, Rupali

  8. Oh, sad and disappointing! 🙁
    I think that garden needs a gardener like Jackie to care for it!
    The music is lovely! When I saw the video I hit play and then started looking through the photos a second time! The music is a good accompaniment!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  9. I told you your garden could be a tourist attraction!! Jackie’s talent and the hard work put in by your both (and Aaron) certainly show in the results.

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